Penticton’s A.J. Eathorne started her Saturday morning learning that Canadian golfing icon, Dawn Coe-Jones, 56, lost her battle with cancer.
Eathorne played on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour with the Tampa Bay, Fla., resident.
“Dawn was one of my best friends. Was a big mentor and like a big sister to me,” said an emotional Eathorne, who received text messages about the news and spoke to a friend. “It’s a tough loss, but it’s a tough loss for a lot of people.
“She was the one who was such a huge Canadian icon for women’s golf and for junior golf in general,” continued Eathorne. “She loved the sport more than anything. It showed. Just her passion was always there no matter what. Even if she had a bad day, she keeps smiling and thanking people for being around. It was her life. I’m just glad I was a part of it.”
Eathorne got to see Coe-Jones, who according to a report by Golf Canada, died peacefully in a hospice near her home in Tampa Bay from bone cancer, in September and gave her what ended up being a final hug.
“I think at that point she kind of knew already,” said Eathorne, adding that cancer is not anyone’s friend and that it took a good one. “It’s sad to know that might be the last time you see somebody. She still had her great smile. Lots of words of encouragement.”
Eathorne roomed with Coe-Jones on the LPGA. While talking about some favourite memories, Eathorne said everything was always fun with Coe-Jones, from enjoying practice rounds to joking around, having a margarita or a glass of wine.
“It was just about living life to the fullest. Enjoying wherever we were,” said Eathorne. “It didn’t matter if we were in Hawaii or some kind of small town in New York. She was always up for doing something fun.”
“On behalf of the entire golf community we are deeply saddened by the passing of Dawn Coe-Jones,” said Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons on their website. “Dawn was a tenacious competitor, a mentor and friend to so many of her peers and a proud ambassador for Canadian golf throughout her distinguished career. As we mourn her passing and send our most sincere condolences to family and friends, the golf and sport community come together in celebrating her outstanding legacy.”
According to Golf Canada, Coe-Jones competed on the LPGA from 1984 to 2008 winning three tournaments. She was inducted into the B.C. Golf Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
Coe-Jones, who was born in Campbell River, is an inductee of the B.C. Golf House Society Hall of Fame. Coe-Jones is survived by her husband Jimmy, son Jimmy Jr., brothers Mark and John Coe as well as extended family and friends.